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Concept Paper

EAST ASIA SUMMIT Vocational Education and


Training Quality Assurance Framework

Andrea Bateman, Bateman & Giles Pty Ltd


Prof Jack Keating, University of Melbourne
Assoc Prof Shelley Gillis, Victoria University
Chloe Dyson, CDA Consulting
Prof Gerald Burke, Monash University
Dr Mike Coles, Mike Coles Ltd

June 2012

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CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................................................ 3

LIST OF FIGURES............................................................................................................................................... 3

BACKGROUND ................................................................................................................................................. 4

CONTEXT AND PURPOSE .................................................................................................................................. 4

STRUCTURE OF THE PAPER ......................................................................................................................................... 5

PART A: QUALITY ASSURANCE IN TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION ................................................. 6

TVET ENVIRONMENT ............................................................................................................................................... 6


QUALITY ASSURANCE ............................................................................................................................................... 7
Quality assurance mechanisms ...................................................................................................................... 8
Design options for assuring quality ................................................................................................................ 9
COMPONENTS OF A QUALITY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK ................................................................................................. 14
Quality assurance principles ........................................................................................................................ 15
Quality assurance standards ........................................................................................................................ 16
Data standards............................................................................................................................................. 16
REGIONAL QUALITY ASSURANCE STRATEGIES ............................................................................................................... 18
Regional frameworks ................................................................................................................................... 19
Regional initiatives ....................................................................................................................................... 21
CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................................................................ 23

PART B: EAST ASIA SUMMIT VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING QUALITY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK
...................................................................................................................................................................... 24

BACKGROUND ...................................................................................................................................................... 24
SCOPE ................................................................................................................................................................. 24
PURPOSE ............................................................................................................................................................. 25
FRAMEWORK........................................................................................................................................................ 25
Underpinning approach ............................................................................................................................... 25
Principles ...................................................................................................................................................... 27
Standards ..................................................................................................................................................... 27
Quality Indicators ......................................................................................................................................... 32
REFERENCING PROCESS........................................................................................................................................... 34
GOVERNANCE ....................................................................................................................................................... 35

APPENDIX 1: AGENCY QUALITY STANDARDS FOR PROVIDERS ....................................................................... 36

APPENDIX 2: EXEMPLAR NATIONAL DATA STANDARD - QUALITY INDICATORS, MEASURES AND DATA
SOURCES ........................................................................................................................................................ 39

ACRONYMS .................................................................................................................................................... 45

GLOSSARY ...................................................................................................................................................... 46

BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................................................... 53

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LIST OF TABLES
TABLE 1: OPTIONS FOR ESTABLISHING ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS ....................................................................................... 10
TABLE 2: OPTIONS FOR REGISTERING, MONITORING AND OVERSIGHT OF ASSESSMENT IN TVET PROVISION ................................. 12
TABLE 3: AGENCIES: OPTIONS FOR SETTING STANDARDS AND QUALIFICATIONS, REGISTERING PROVIDERS AND AWARDING
QUALIFICATIONS. .............................................................................................................................................. 13
TABLE 4: SUMMARY OF HIGHER EDUCATION QUALITY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORKS .................................................................. 21
TABLE 5: AGENCY QUALITY STANDARDS: ........................................................................................................................ 29
TABLE 6: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEMES AND ASPECTS. ................................................................................................ 33
TABLE 7: THE EAS QUALITY INDICATORS ....................................................................................................................... 33
TABLE 8: QUALITY STANDARDS FOR PROVIDERS (EXEMPLAR) ............................................................................................. 36
TABLE 9: EXEMPLAR NATIONAL DATA STANDARD - QUALITY INDICATORS, MEASURES AND DATA SOURCES ................................... 39

LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE 1: THE CONCEPT DESIGN OF THE EAS TVET QAF: COMPONENT RELATIONSHIPS. ...................................................... 26
FIGURE 2: THE CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR DEVELOPING THE QUALITY INDICATORS. ................................................................. 32

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BACKGROUND
In 2010 Australia and the ASEAN Secretariat cooperated to convene two workshops of an East Asia
Summit (EAS) Senior Education Officials Taskforce. A key outcome of these workshops was 13 EAS
education cooperation project proposals, which were noted at the inaugural EAS Education
Ministers meeting in Bali in July 2011. At this meeting, Senator Chris Evans, Australian Minister for
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations announced that Australia would undertake three
projects including the development of the regional TVET quality assurance framework. Australia’s
commitment to implement this project was noted in the statements by the Chairs of the EAS
informal Education Ministers Meeting in July and the EAS Leaders Summit in November 2011.
This project aimed to produce an East Asia Summit Technical and Vocational Education and Training
Quality Assurance Framework (EAS TVET QAF). The framework was to consist of a set of principles,
guidelines and tools to assist EAS countries develop, improve and assess the quality of their TVET
systems. It is anticipated that the EAS TVET QAF will form a coherent package capable of guiding the
design and implementation of measures to strengthen quality assurance at the country level as well
as providing a basis for alignment between national TVET systems.
The 18 member countries of the East Asia Summit (EAS) include the ten Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia,
Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), as well as Australia, China, India, Japan,
Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

CONTEXT AND PURPOSE


The purpose of this paper is to:
• outline the role of quality assurance processes at both the national and regional level; and to
• outline the conceptual design for an East Asia Summit Technical and Vocational Education
and Training Quality Assurance Framework (EAS TVET QAF).
The EAS TVET QAF provides a set of principles, standards and quality indicators to assist EAS
countries to assess the quality of their TVET systems and develop it accordingly, as well as provide a
basis for greater alignment between national TVET systems.
The EAS TVET QAF aims to address the needs of developing and developed economies in the region
through an appropriate balance of compliance and evaluative approaches to quality assurance. It is
flexible to respond to the varying needs and circumstances of countries. The EAS TVET QAF is
capable of application at TVET accrediting and registering agency level and TVET training provider
level, and it aims to bring benefits such as improved effectiveness, transparency and confidence in
TVET provision within and across countries.

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Structure of the paper
The paper is divided into two parts:
• Part A explores the purposes, principles and mechanisms that can be used for quality
assuring TVET. It shows that there is a range of approaches that are used by countries across
the globe, and that these approaches have been conditioned by the particular histories,
structures and contexts of TVET systems. It also notes that there are widespread processes
for the internal documentation and integration of quality assurance systems and in some
cases there are measures in place to improve the alignment between international TVET
quality assurance systems. Finally, reference is made to a range of existing regional
initiatives (including frameworks) that have informed the development of the EAS TVET QAF.
• Part B provides an agreed regional EAS TVET QAF for application by East Asia Summit
countries. It outlines a core framework that consists of a set of principles, agency standards
and quality indicators to underpin quality assurance of TVET within countries and across the
region. Also included is a suggested set of standards for providers as well as measures and
data sources for each quality indicator.

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PART A: QUALITY ASSURANCE IN TECHNICAL AND
VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

TVET environment
TVET has played a traditional role in:

• providing the skill sets that are needed by enterprises and across national economies;
• supporting pathways into employment for young people; and
• strengthening mobility between occupations for experienced workers.
The demands upon TVET have increased in recent decades with rapid changes in technology,
industry, occupations and skill sets. Apart from these traditional roles TVET systems are required to
support the development of new skills and assist workers to more readily change or progress
occupations/careers. Moreover they are required to achieve these outcomes and to adjust their
own capacity more quickly as the pace of change of industry product and processes increases.
Industries and enterprises within more competitive environments require workers who can readily
acquire the skills needed for new technologies, processes, products and quality standards. Workers
need to have both general and more defined skill sets and the capacity to adapt these skill sets in the
face of new industrial demands.
The globalisation of industries and economies has placed a further set of demands upon TVET
systems. Enterprises must now compete more openly in an international market, and the capacity
of a national economy to supply skills of sufficient quality and relevance greatly influences its
competitiveness. Furthermore the international flow of enterprises and workers creates increased
demands upon the skills supply of countries and regions and the skill levels of workers. The quality
and relevance of the supply of skills contributes to national and regional capacities to attract
investment. The quality and relevance of workers’ skills influences their capacity for mobility across
national and international employment markets.
Under these circumstances the demands on TVET programs has increased. Across developed and
developing countries in the East Asia area there are numerous examples of industries and
enterprises that complain of skill shortages while graduates of TVET programs cannot find
employment.
While TVET has a direct role in supporting the skill needs of industry and the employment and career
needs and opportunities of workers it is also located within wider national education and training
systems that have social and civic as well as economic purposes. TVET, by contributing to the general
knowledge and skills of individuals, makes an important contribution to these needs.
Within the context of the changes and diversification of industry skill needs, growing mobility of
workers and the expansion of TVET markets, countries have been investing in bilateral mechanisms
to improve the connectivity of their TVET provision in order to support regional economic
integration through cross-border investment and the mobility of skilled labour. The processes of
developing the links and ensuring transparency have mostly concentrated upon national systems.
These processes have intensified and are now reaching towards multilateral mechanisms for

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improving international connectivity, especially in the area of occupational standards and
qualifications. Until recently, the setting of achievement standards, the development of
qualifications frameworks, and the formalisation of quality assurance systems have mostly been at
the national level. This is especially the case with TVET systems, with their links to national
economies and labour markets, national professional bodies, and regulations related to immigration
and emigration. The globalisation of economies and the international flow of students and workers
now put increased priority on the effectiveness of qualifications and skills recognition across
economic regions.

Quality assurance
An essential element of a quality assured TVET system is ensuring that the provision meets the skill
and education needs of industry and individuals in changing national and globalised economies. To
achieve quality of TVET outcomes there should be:
• a means by which the quality of providers of TVET and of the qualifications issued are
assured. The ways in which this will be done may vary with the ways in which TVET is
organised and financed;
• the provision of sufficient public and private funds,
• an organising structure which may include the use of market competition and/or centralised
decision making to promote the efficient use of the funds and to see that they are directed
at skill needs and the career needs of individuals;
• a good public information system on skill needs, on career paths and on courses and
providers so that decisions by authorities or choices by individuals and employers are able to
be made effectively;

• a national qualifications framework (NQF), though there are examples of highly productive
economies that do not have them; and
• alignment with current and predicted employment and labour market needs.
It is this last issue of the assurance of quality of providers and of qualifications awarded that is the
focus of this paper. However in reviewing quality assurance other aspects of a quality TVET provision
need to be considered, including the setting of standards for qualifications that may be covered by
the NQF and the public provision of information on performance.
Quality assurance is a component of quality management and is ‘focused on providing confidence
that quality requirements will be fulfilled’1. In relation to training and educational services, ‘quality
assurance refers to planned and systematic processes that provide confidence in educational
services provided by training providers under the remit of relevant authorities or bodies. It is a set
of activities established by these relevant authorities or bodies to ensure that educational services
satisfy customer requirements in a systematic, reliable fashion. However, quality assurance does not
guarantee the quality of educational services it can only make them more likely’2.

1
AS/NZS ISO 9000:2006: Quality management systems—Fundamentals and vocabulary, June 2006, p. 9.
2
Bateman, Keating and Vickers 2009, p. 8.

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Quality assurance mechanisms
There are a large number of mechanisms available for quality assurance in TVET. Countries typically
utilise different combinations of these mechanisms depending on the characteristics of each
country’s TVET system, the infrastructure that is available and other contextual factors.
Broadly, quality assurance systems can vary around some continua, which include:
• compliance or evaluative based; and
• context, input, process and/or output based.
Ideally quality assurance systems should have a balance within these sets of characteristics so that
they ensure:
• probity and accountability for investments in TVET, and minimum standards for the delivery
and outcomes; but at the same time encouraging quality improvement and innovation;
• quality and relevance of the TVET product in the form of educational and/or competency
standards and provider capacity; as well as

• quality of the TVET product in the form of the relevance and level of the knowledge and skill
outcomes of the graduates.
Quality systems also vary in terms of the location of the authority for quality assurance. This can
vary between:
• government agencies, accountable to government and/or a range of stakeholders;
• industry groups or wider groups of stakeholders through separate agencies;
• providers that are allowed to manage the quality of their provision; or
• market forces where employer and individual choice puts pressure on underperforming
providers.
Quality assurance of difference elements of TVET include:
• the TVET product through the accreditation of achievement standards (such as educational
and/or competency standards as well as certification of a qualification);

• the training providers through registration3 processes based upon their infrastructure,
financial probity and health, staff qualifications and experience, management systems,
delivery systems, and student support systems;
• the TVET processes through the auditing of provider processes and outcomes, including
student learning and employment outcomes and student and user satisfaction levels;
• the TVET outcomes through control, supervision or monitoring of assessment and
graduation procedures and outcomes;

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Across some regions the processes of endorsement of the probity, capacities and processes of training providers is
referred to as ‘accreditation’. It is proposed that these processes be termed ‘registration’ in order to differentiate
registration of providers against quality standards from the processes of accreditation of achievement standards (i.e.
educational or competency standards and/or certification standards). Refer to Glossary.

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• provider or system wide evaluations of TVET quality, including evaluations by external
agencies; and
• the provision of public information on the performance of providers such as program and
component completions, student and employer satisfaction.

Countries typically divide these functions across different types of agencies. The types of agencies
include:
• Accreditation agencies. These can be single or multiple agencies, such as industry standard
setting bodies, as well as a national or system wide agency. They typically include industry
or employer representation and other stakeholders.
• Provider registration and monitoring agencies. These tend to be single agencies and have
the responsibility for the registration and audit or evaluation4 of providers. In some cases
the audit or evaluation responsibility is delegated to other agencies.
• Qualifications agencies and awarding bodies. These bodies include national qualifications
authorities with the authority to accredit and award and/or quality assure qualifications.
• Licensing agencies and professional bodies. Licensing agencies can be government agencies,
industry bodies or professional bodies. The licensing systems can be supported through
legislation or regulation or can be based upon the wide recognition of industry and
professional bodies across industries and occupations.
• Self accrediting and/or awarding providers. Providers can have self accrediting and/or
awarding status through legislation or through delegation from another agency.
• External quality agencies such as those responsible for the ISO standards.
The various functions that are embodied in national quality assurance systems of TVET will typically
be located in a limited number of these types of agencies. Some agencies have single functions
while others will have responsibility for multiple functions. Some countries have multiple agencies
and some have only one, apart from the providers. The number and type of agencies and the
balance of responsibilities that are located in these agencies, as well as the mechanisms that are
used by these agencies to undertake these functions are conditioned by the particular characteristics
and contexts of national TVET systems.

Design options for assuring quality


The nature of a quality assurance framework will be conditioned by the characteristics of the TVET
market. A national TVET system that mostly consists of government TVET training providers is
different to one that has a large percentage of industry and privately owned TVET providers. In the
former, quality assurance is likely to be more input based and managed through providers’ internal
mechanisms that concentrate upon the quality and standard of the training and assessment, the
building infrastructure and equipment and the training and experience of the teachers and

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Quality audit refers to a systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it
objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled (AS/NZS ISO 19011:2003: Guidelines for quality
and/or environmental management systems auditing, p. 1). Some countries may refer to audit activity as an external
independent review or evaluation or assessment. For other countries the term ‘evaluation’ reflects a focus on the value of
specified outcomes. Refer to Glossary – Audit, Evaluation.

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instructors. In the latter, quality assurance is more likely to be a mix of input mechanisms that relate
to the capacities of the providers and output mechanisms related to the standards of the knowledge
and skills that are acquired by the participants.
The form in which a country develops it quality assurance processes is dependent on a range of
factors, essentially based on the national or regional context. Factors can include: the extent to
which initial VET is located in the schools sector, the existence and strength of apprenticeship
systems, and the relationship between VET and tertiary education (Bateman, Keating and Vickers
2009). Bateman, Keating and Vickers also note that:
Nations also have different governance cultures that are the product of their different histories and
their geo economic contexts. These cultures are also influenced by traditions of state—civil society
relationships—which in VET include the role of the industry partners. In all nations, industry bodies
have some role in quality assurance, mostly in standard setting (2009, p.5).

There is no one formula for the development of a quality assurance system, nor one model design.
However key components include:
• processes for the construction of TVET qualifications and standards, including completion
rules for the qualification;
• clear processes for registration and monitoring of providers, as well as a system for
moderating and/or validating assessment, and for the awarding of qualifications; and
• establishment and governance of agency/ies for maintaining the quality assurance of
qualifications, developing standards and accrediting providers.
1. Establishing achievement standards
There are multiple options for the construction of TVET achievement standards. The options relate
to both the form of the achievement standards and the processes through which they are
generated.

Table 1: Options for establishing achievement standards

Forms Examples of Processes

Competency, Common sets of agreed achievement Public providers take the lead in
Occupational and statements such as: establishing standards.
Assessment standards
• Competency standards which Single agency responsible for the
refer to the knowledge, skills development and endorsement of
and competence required by a standards.
person to do a job
Multiple industry agencies responsible for
• Occupational standards, which developing and endorsing these
refer to the tasks involved in standards.
occupations and its sub
structures;
• Assessment standards, which
refer to statements of learning
outcomes to be assessed and
methodology used.

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Forms Examples of Processes

Qualifications or Qualifications that are linked to Providers establish own qualifications that
Certification achievement standards. are accredited by a single or multiple
standards agencies.
Sets of national qualifications within
a national skills or qualifications Central and/or multiple agency develops
framework. qualifications and self accredits or has the
qualifications accredited by another
Certification standards that define
agency.
the rules applicable to obtaining a
qualification (e.g. certificate or Single qualifications agency develops or
delegates the development of
diploma) as well as the rights
qualifications and accredits qualifications.
conferred.

Educational standards Educational standards can Providers are responsible for the
encompass a number of different development of their educational
elements such as statements of standards, which is not externally
learning objectives, content of accredited or endorsed.
curricula, entry requirements and
Central agencies develop educational
resources required to meet learning
objectives and relevant assessment standards which are accredited and used
methods. by providers.

The level of specificity can vary from: Some providers may be responsible for
the development of their own educational
• Broadly written and flexible
standards.
curriculum
• More detailed curriculum that is
broken into discrete
components with assessments
linked to the components.

The trends in TVET are relatively clear. In the context of more open markets:
• there is a movement towards national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) as a means of
systematising, documenting, integrating and linking the ‘TVET product’ within the
framework;
• within or alongside these NQFs, there has been a move towards outcomes based learning
approaches via the development and accreditation of sets of achievement standards and
qualification outcomes;
• the processes for the development and accreditation of qualifications typically will involve
industry personnel and agencies; and
• providers utilise the accredited achievement standards to develop or further develop the
curriculum for delivery.
• there is a trend towards developing higher level VET program and qualifications that
recognise professional practice; and
• there is a trend in the European Union towards using broad based validation to recognize
learning through experience.

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However, the quality assurance of TVET achievement standards is considered separate from a
national or sectoral qualifications framework5, which is complementary to and not part of a quality
assurance framework.
2. Registering, monitoring and oversight of assessment in TVET provision
TVET provision historically has been diverse across countries, and how countries quality assure TVET
provision is equally diverse. Table 2 summarises options for registering and monitoring training
providers (generally through audit), conducting assessment and awarding qualifications.

Table 2: Options for registering, monitoring and oversight of assessment in TVET provision

Forms Examples of Processes


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Registration Public providers that self register or are Registration is through internal
directly registered by government processes and boards or councils that
may include industry representatives.
Public providers with a small number of
private providers where the public provider or The public providers review and or
an external agency registers the private auspice the private or non-public
providers. providers.
Open TVET market with multiple providers The registration authority registers all
with an external registration agency. providers or some providers, or it gives
categories of registration, including
Open market with registration agencies for all
effective self-registration with cyclical
providers and teachers and instructors within
reviews for low risk providers.
the providers.
Monitoring Front end audits of provider facilities, Audits are conducted on a cyclical basis,
finances, probity, teacher capability and with the option of different cycles for
training and assessment materials. different categories of providers.
Audits of outcomes through reviews of Audits can be scheduled in different
student assessments as well as qualification ways, e.g. as a one off major review or
progression and completion rates, undertaken at short notice.
employment outcomes, user satisfaction,
continuation of further study.
Assessment All assessments are designed and Provider based assessments are
administered by the provider. reviewed and quality assured through
internal processes than may include
Assessments are provider based, but
review by an external moderator.
externally moderated by the external agency.

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A qualification framework is an instrument for development and classification of qualifications (at national or sectoral
levels) according to a set of criteria (such as using descriptors) applicable to specified levels of learning outcomes (CEDEFOP
(2011) p. 82).
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Glossary definition: Registration processes include formal acknowledgement by a registering body that a provider meets
relevant quality standards. Under NQFs it is usual for a provider to be registered in order to deliver and assess accredited
programs and issue awards.
Some agencies differentiate between two processes:
• Formal acknowledgement that the provider meets key generic quality standards
• Formal acknowledgement that the provider meets specific quality standards related to the provision of teaching,
learning and assessment of a specific program.
For the purpose of the EAS Quality Assurance Framework for TVET project, registration of providers is the term used for
both processes.

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Forms Examples of Processes
Assessments are developed by an external Samples of assessments are reviewed
agency but administered by the provider (e.g. by the external agency, and if necessary
common assessment tasks). the results are adjusted.
Assessments are conducted by the external Assessment results are issued by the
agency. external agency.
Awarding The provider issues the qualification. Provider based qualifications are
internally quality assured.
Providers issue the qualification, but on behalf
of and within quality assurance procedures of Awarding body licenses the provider to
the awarding body. issue the qualifications, which are
subject to quality procedures.
The awarding body issues the qualifications;
this can be a government ministry. Awarding body issues the qualifications
on the basis of its own assessments or
validated and moderated assessments
of the providers.

3. Agency remit
TVET quality assurance systems typically are supported by a number of agencies that supervise,
audit or conduct the various quality procedures outlined above. These agencies can be:
• Government run and will typically be a branch of a government department;
• More independent bodies established through legislation – statutory bodies; or

• Industry or professional bodies that may or may not be endorsed by government or a


government agency, and which have established strong national and/or international
reputations for quality in their TVET fields (for example the Royal Society of the Arts in the
United Kingdom).

Table 3: Agencies: Options for setting standards and qualifications, registering providers and awarding
qualifications.

Forms Examples of Processes


Standards and A single national qualifications authority or These different configurations will
qualifications separate TVET and higher education authorities require different sets of
that can have one, several or all of the following relationships between the different
functions: agencies and between the agencies
and the TVET providers.
- Standards setting for some (TVET or higher
education) or all qualifications – a
qualifications framework;
- Developing and/or accrediting TVET
standards;
- Developing and accrediting TVET
qualifications;
- Issuing or delegation of the issuing of TVET
qualifications.
A single national qualifications authority or
separate TVET and higher education authorities

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Forms Examples of Processes
together with a separate awarding body or
bodies.
A qualifications authority, awarding body(ies)
and industry sector standards setting bodies.
Providers The registration of providers through: Provider registration can be in
different forms and through
• The qualifications authority; or
different processes as outlined
• The awarding bodies; or above.
• A separate provider registration body.
Awarding Self-awarding providers. The processes will be influenced by
organisations the configuration of agencies and
Providers are delegated to award specific
their functions.
qualifications or clusters of qualifications by the
qualifications or awarding bodies.
Awards are issued by the qualifications authority,
awarding body(ies) and/or professional and
industry bodies.

Countries have to manage the conflicting principles of:


• the separation of the functions of standards setting and accreditation of qualifications,
provider registration and audit, and the assessment and awarding of qualifications; and
• the need to avoid the proliferation of agencies that can lead to a lack of transparency and
consistency, and contestation over territory.
Most, but not all, countries separate the functions of:
• standards and qualifications setting; and
• provider registration and monitoring/audit.
The awarding function or its delegation can reside within the qualifications agency, separate
awarding bodies, or at the provider level.

Components of a quality assurance framework


TVET systems across most countries have multiple origins. They have evolved from apprenticeship
systems, secondary technical education, private and public technical education colleges, and
industry training7. As a consequence in many countries they have operated under different
government ministries or departments and different sets of qualifications and quality assurance
arrangements.
In many countries an integrated TVET system has only recently been formed and in many other
countries an integrated system has not yet been formed.
Therefore the task of building a quality assurance system for TVET is not standardised. Countries
have different experiences and different approaches:

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Bateman, Keating and Vickers (2009)

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• Some have concentrated upon the establishment of achievement standards (e.g. knowledge
and skills and certification standards and qualification types), and use mechanisms to ensure
that the knowledge and skills are delivered and assessed to the required standards.
• Some concentrate upon input quality with systems that ensure the quality and capacity of
TVET providers and the training and experience of TVET teachers and instructors. These
approaches rely upon an accreditation system for providers, teachers and curriculum and
use audits of providers.
• Some concentrate upon the quality of the output. Mechanisms are used to ensure the
validity, authenticity and reliability of the assessment systems and the processes for
awarding TVET qualifications. These mechanisms also attempt to engage the key
stakeholders, especially employers and students, so that assessments can be made of the
relevance and quality of the knowledge and learning that is delivered.

• Others concentrate upon quality improvements. Some systems have additional


requirements for providers to implement a continuous improvement approach across the
scope of their operations. These approaches aim to instill a culture of continuous
improvement of the inputs TVET based on assessment of the standards and relevance of the
outputs.
All quality assurance systems attempt to build a balance between these approaches that is
influenced by the particular history and legacy of TVET within a country and its particular
institutional and cultural characteristics. Government policies for development of TVET systems also
influence the balance point.
Typically quality assurance frameworks comprise the articulation of:
• principles;
• standards:
o quality standards (including Agency and Provider); and
o data standards (quality indicators, measures and sources).
It is this structures that has informed the development of the EAS TVET QAF presented in Part B.

Quality assurance principles


A foundation for cooperation and commonality is a set of common principles for quality assurance
systems. They could include the following:

• Transparency and accountability: Transparency and accountability are two key principles of
good governance. Accountability relates to the legal or reporting framework and the
responsibility for evaluating own practices against performance measures. Transparency
relates to the timely, reliable, clear and relevant public reporting of processes and
performance. All stakeholders need to understand and have confidence in the quality
assurance systems.
• Comparability: The application and selection of quality assurance measures may vary across
different TVET programs and provider types. However, they need to be based upon
comparable standards and expectations.

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• Flexibility and responsiveness: Quality assurance measures and approaches should not be so
rigid that they only build compliance cultures and restrict innovation and flexibility across
TVET providers.
• Balance and integration: Effective quality assurance systems will utilise a balance of
measures designed to ensure minimum standards and the protection of the interests of
stakeholders, but at the same time encourage continuous improvement and innovation.
• Continuity and consistency: Systems should not change rapidly so as to maintain the
confidence of stakeholders and should be consistent in their application.
• Minimum standards: All TVET systems require some minimum standards for both inputs and
outputs.
• Assurance and improvement: Quality systems should provide stakeholders with an
assurance of standards and promote improvement in delivery and outcomes.

• Independence: Quality assurance should be based upon the principles of good governance,
including the independence of different elements of quality systems, and the avoidance of
conflict of interest.
• Subsidiarity: Where possible and appropriate, judgements on quality should be made close
to the delivery of TVET (i.e. in the country).

Quality assurance standards


Quality assurance principles form the basis of a quality assurance system. As part of the system the
documentation of quality standards based on the principles has emerged as a core building block of
quality, especially in TVET, in a context of greater diversity in the providers and users of education
and training. These quality standards relating to inputs and outputs of education and training can
apply at both agency and provider level.
Documentation of such standards is achieved mainly through the development of common sets of
benchmarks and expectations for the different inputs and outputs of education and training
systems. It relates to the benchmarks and expectations of the relevant agency, the curriculum, the
capacities and behaviour of providers in delivering programs, and the knowledge, skills and
attributes of the individuals who complete a program and are awarded a qualification. Quality
assurance systems constitute the processes that utilise8 these standards and expectations to
enhance the realisation of the social and economic purposes of the investments in education and
training.

Data standards
Quality assurance of TVET depends to a large extent upon the availability, validity, reliability of data
about the practice and outcomes of TVET and the generation and use of indicators of quality. These
indicators can be produced or derived from each of the different elements of the TVET delivery
cycle.

8
Specifying the standards, benchmarks and expectations of the curriculum tends to be addressed with the establishment
of national qualifications frameworks which are not the remit of this paper. However, assuring the quality of providers and
assuring the provision and award of qualifications is an important component of a quality assurance framework.

16
The identification and use of indicators will be conditioned by:
• the availability of data sources and the capacity of the TVET systems to produce them;
• the potential impact upon stakeholders, including providers, in their production and use;
• the balance across aspects of the TVET (achievement standards, providers and provision,
assessment and awarding);
• their validity, reliability and utility; and

• their capacity to ensure quality and confidence amongst stakeholders and to enhance
quality and encourage improvement and innovation.
Particularly if the indicators are made public they can be used to:
• assure funders and investors of the probity, effectiveness and efficiency of TVET
expenditure;
• assure stakeholders of the capacity and behaviour of TVET providers;
• assure stakeholders of the relevance and quality of the TVET processes and product;

• inform providers as a basis for improvements and innovations; and


• assure national and international users of the relevance and quality of the TVET product and
system.
Generally speaking, indicators of quality tend to be classified according to inputs and outputs9. Input
Indicators include:
• endorsement by industry, professional and occupational groups of the relevance and levels
of TVET achievement standards;
• endorsement by providers of the quality and utility of TVET achievement standards;
• information on the capacity and experience of providers staff, the effectiveness of financial
and management systems, and the quality and relevance of provider facilities and
equipment;
• information on the content, style and quality of delivery of TVET providers;
• information on provider student support services, facilities and systems;

• information on enrolment entry requirements and procedures;


• patterns of student enrolments in relation to policy objectives;
• investment by TVET providers and staff in professional development, facilities upgrades,
quality assurance systems, and other innovations;
• enrolment levels and patterns for providers;

9
For example, Gibbs (2010) developed a set of quality indicators for higher education based upon Biggs’ (1989) 3 -P model
of learning which comprised three types of variables: presage, process and product. Similarly, the EQARF indicators appear
to be based on Stufflebeam’s (2003) CIPP approach to classifying indicators in which there are four types of variables:
context, input, process and product [output].

17
• the comprehensiveness, relevance and accessibility of information systems; and

• mechanisms to identify areas and types of skill needed by industry.


Output indicators include:
• assessment outcomes, and assessment audit outcomes for units and qualifications;
• records of program delivery, student activity and student assessments;
• student completion rates, satisfaction levels, and destinations – including employment rates,
and rates for different social and occupational/industry groups;

• information on the use of skills within the workplace;


• employer and other user satisfaction with graduate outcomes; and
• evidence of the accuracy of information systems, systems to identify skill needs and the
identification of the needs of vulnerable and/or other social groups.
There is a natural tension between quality assurance systems and an active TVET provider market.
While the two are not antithetical, part of the purpose of quality assurance is to temper the market
activities of the providers in order to provide protection for the users of TVET.
Therefore an effective quality assurance system within an active TVET market will balance its
demands upon training providers and other stakeholders with sufficient flexibility and minimum
levels of input and output processes to allow for innovation while maintaining wide stakeholder
confidence in the integrity of the education and training and its outputs.

Regional quality assurance strategies


National TVET quality assurance systems vary to a considerable extent, and this variance will
continue into the future, yet it does not mean that national quality assurance systems cannot learn
from each other, achieve greater alignment and build mutual understanding in the quality of
national TVET outcomes. Despite the diversity of TVET systems across Europe, the European Union’s
Copenhagen Declaration includes an agreement for ‘Promoting cooperation in quality assurance
with particular focus on exchange of models and methods, as well as common criteria and principles
for quality in vocational education and training’ (EU, 2002, p. 3).
The key aim of a regional quality assurance framework is to develop mutual understanding amongst
member countries. In addition, a regional quality assurance framework acts as:
• an instrument to promote and monitor the improvement of member countries’ systems of
vocational education and training (VET);
• a reference instrument that outlines benchmarks to help member countries to assess clearly
and consistently whether the measures necessary for improving the quality of their VET
systems have been implemented and whether they need to be reviewed;
• a self-assessment instrument that can include internal and external assessment which is can
be made public.

18
Regional frameworks
There are two key regional TVET quality assurance frameworks that the East Asia Summit Technical
and Vocational Education and Training Quality Assurance Framework (EAS TVET QAF) can draw from:
• European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET10

• Pacific Register of Qualifications and Standards: quality assurance11.


The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework was established through the European
Parliament and Council in June 2009. Its key purpose is as ‘a reference instrument…to promote and
monitor continuous improvement of…VET systems’12. The framework is based on the continuous
improvement cycle of planning, implementation, evaluation and review/revision and includes:
• quality criteria;

• indicative descriptors for TVET system level;


• indicative descriptors for TVET provider level; and
• a reference set of quality indicators for assessing quality in TVET.
The implementation of European Quality Assurance Reference Framework is supported by the
development of an active and highly effective community of practice13 which brings together
Member States, employers, trade unions and the European Commission to promote European
collaboration in developing and improving quality assurance in VET.
The Pacific’s approach to quality assurance is part of a broader strategy, which includes:
• a regional register of qualifications and occupational standards
• Pacific Qualifications Framework.
The regional register seeks to ensure that the quality assurance system across all Pacific Island
Countries and its subsequent implementation is designed, developed and implemented at a high
standard and to foster mutual trust between a country and any of its multiple stakeholders’14. The
quality assurance framework ensures that qualifications to be entered on the regional Register meet
agreed standards. The Pacific’s approach to quality assurance focusses primarily on registering and
accrediting agencies and includes:
• Quality Assurance Standards for Agencies:
o Standards for Agencies
o Standards governing the relationship between Agencies and their Providers
• Minimum quality standards for training providers.
Underpinning both these regional frameworks is:
• transparency;
10
http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/education_training_youth/lifelong_learning/c11108_en.htm
11
Note that the Pacific’s approach to quality assurance is still in trial stage.
12
Official Journal of the European Union, 8/7/2009, p. 2.
13
Refer to www.eqavet.eu
14
Quality Assurance of National Qualifications Agencies, 2011 p. 4.

19
• agreed quality standards or criteria; and

• promotion of mutual understanding.


A key strategy for establishing and maintaining transparency and mutual understanding amongst
participating countries in both these regions is via a referencing process.

Referencing is a process that results in the establishment of a relationship between the national
quality assurance framework and that of a regional quality assurance framework. Referencing in the
education arena is most commonly referred to in relation to national qualification frameworks
(NQFs) and regional qualifications framework, such as the European Qualifications Framework.
However, similar processes could be utilised for ensuring comparability of quality assurance systems
and building mutual understanding.

The referencing process of the EQF (European Qualifications Framework) requires each country ‘to
refer their national qualifications levels to the EQF’ (EQF 2009) and includes publishing a report. The
referencing process also includes 10 broad referencing criteria15. The referencing criteria aim to
ensure that the referencing processes and results can be compared and generate a zone of mutual
trust amongst the EU countries16 . Noted below are three criteria that apply to quality assurance.

5. The national quality assurance system(s) for education and training refer (s) to the national
qualifications framework or system and are consistent with the relevant European principles and
guidelines (as indicated in annex 3 of the Recommendation17).
6. The referencing process shall include the stated agreement of the relevant quality assurance
bodies.
7. The referencing process shall involve international experts.

The inclusion of international experts in the referencing process is to assist with generating
confidence and mutual trust in a country’s referencing outcome by the international community.
Whilst the role and level of participation could vary, research has shown that two or three
international experts can be used effectively18.

In the EQF model, country referencing reports are made public on the EU website19. To facilitate
mutual trust, the referencing report could be undertaken by each participating EAS country and
should confirm that their quality assurance system and implementation of quality assurance
strategies meet the agreed EAS TVET QAF quality assurance principles and standards

In the Pacific, for inclusion of national qualifications on the proposed Pacific Register for
Qualifications and Standards, participating country agencies are to demonstrate that they meet the
minimum standards for agencies (including registration and accreditation processes). The proposed
quality assurance arrangements are linked to the Pacific Qualifications Framework and the process
of agency recognition is based on a third party audit/review.

15
Coles et al 2011, p. 28
16
Coles, personal communication 2011.
17
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2008:111:0001:0007:EN:PDF
18
Coles et al 2011.
19
http://ec.europa.eu/eqf/documentation_en.htm

20
Both the EQARF and the proposed Pacific Island Countries quality assurance arrangements (that links
to the proposed Pacific Register of Qualifications and Standards) have agencies responsible for the
management and review of the effectiveness of the framework.

Regional initiatives
A number of additional regional initiatives are relevant to the development of an EAS TVET QAF:
• Quality assurance principles for Asia Pacific Region – Chiba Principles20
• International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) Good
Practice Guidelines21

• European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) Standards and
Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area22.
Although these developments pertain to agencies responsible for the quality assurance of higher
education and to internal quality assurance requirements for higher education providers, they do
provide guidance for the EAS TVET QAF especially in terms of its agency standards.
Below is a table summarising the key aspects of each higher education quality assurance framework.

Table 4: Summary of Higher Education quality assurance frameworks

Framework Agency Quality Assurance Audit Provider Quality Assurance

Chiba Addresses both approval and audit of Addresses both institution, Quality assurance is
Principles institutions and programs. program and institution & embedded within provider
program goals and objectives.
Governance:
Standards are publicly Internal quality management
• Independent and autonomous. available system is in place.
• Mission statement, goals and Stakeholder involvement Quality assurance strategy is
objectives are clearly defined. implemented.
Internal and external
• Human and financial resources assessment (quality audit) Process for periodic approval,
are adequate and accessible. monitoring and review of
Audit undertaken in a cyclical
Policies, procedures, reviews and programs and awards.
basis
audit reports are public. Quality assurance of academic
Public reports
Standards, audit methodology, and staff is maintained.
decision criteria are clear. Appeals process
Accuracy of provider
Periodic review of activities, effects information about its
and value. programs, awards and
achievements.
Cooperates across national borders.
Undertake research and provide
information and advice.

INQAAHE Addresses: External review includes clear Relationship with provider:


Good Practice standards, assessment
• Governance arrangements • Recognition that primary
Guidelines methods and processes,
(including mission statement or decision criteria, and other responsibility for quality

20
http://www.aei.gov.au/About-AEI/Policy/Documents/Brisbane%20Communique/Quality_Assurance_Principles_pdf.pdf
21
http://www.inqaahe.org/admin/files/assets/subsites/1/documenten/1231430767_inqaahe---guidelines-of-good-
practice[1].pdf
22
http://www.enqa.eu/files/ENQA%20Bergen%20Report.pdf

21
Framework Agency Quality Assurance Audit Provider Quality Assurance
objectives, ownership and information assurance rests with the
governance structure is provider.
Specifications on the
appropriate, external quality
characteristics, selection and • Agency has clear
assurance is a major activity)
training of reviewers expectations of providers
• Resources (in relation to that may be promulgated
System to ensure equivalent
adequacy of human and financial in standards or factors or
process of review for all
resources) precepts that have been
institutions
subject to consultation
• Quality assurance including with stakeholders.
Independent decision making
continuous improvement
approach, self assessment and Process for appeals • Review process includes
external review at regular provider self assessment,
intervals external peer review and
follow up procedure
• Public accountability – reports
and decisions are public including
of its own external review
• Collaboration with other
agencies
• Policies related to import and
export of qualifications (cross
border)

ENQA Governance: Aims and objectives of quality Internal policies and


Standards assurance processes, and the procedures for quality
and • Formal status procedures should be public. assurance and standards for
Guidelines for • Adequately resourced programs and awards.
Formal criteria should be
Quality
• Clear mission statement, goals explicit and published Formal processes for approval,
Assurance in
and objectives monitoring and periodic
the European Process for external quality
review or programs.
Higher • Independent assurance should be fit for
Education purpose Assessment of students using
Area • Processes, criteria and published criteria and
procedures used should be pre- Reports should be published
regulations.
defined and publicly available Follow up procedures
Quality assurance of teaching
• Have procedures for own Periodic reviews should be on staff.
accountability a cyclical basis.
Appropriateness of learning
Undertake external quality assurance Agencies should produce resources and student
activities on a regular basis (provider summary reports outlining the support.
or program) general findings of their
Collection, analysis and use of
reviews, evaluations,
relevant information for
assessments.
effective management of
programs.
Accurate information
regarding programs and
awards offered.

A review of these three quality assurance frameworks highlights a number of commonalities. These
include:
• establishment of an agency that has clear objectives and goals, and appropriate governance
arrangements, as well as adequate resources;

• independence of decision making;


• self assessment and external review processes;

22
• transparency and publication of reports, data and findings;

• cross border or collaboration arrangements;


• focus on continuous improvement;
• a set of standards or criteria for assessment of providers and/or accreditation of
achievement standards (i.e. certification standards);
• process for audit/review of providers and selection and currency of reviewers/auditors; and
• process for complaints and appeals.
A regional EAS TVET QAF would need to take into consideration these regional TVET quality
assurance frameworks, plus the regional higher education quality assurance network standards.

Conclusion
TVET systems deliver knowledge and skills for individuals and for employers and industries, and
facilitate the recognition of skills that have been gained by individuals. Quality assurance includes
the formal acknowledgment that the expected skills and knowledge have been delivered and that
the individual has gained the skills and knowledge, through the award of a qualification or another
formal statement from an appropriate agency. Quality assurance provides confidence to the users
of TVET and of its qualifications and statements that the knowledge and skills have been delivered
and acquired as described within the course and qualification specifications.
TVET systems are very broad and traditionally have encompassed multiple agencies and
qualifications. In the context of the rapid advancement and change in knowledge and skills, the
greater mobility of workers, and the greater integration of the global and regional economies there
have been pressures to connect what have been diverse systems. An aspect of this connecting is the
mechanism to assure the wider users of the quality of the TVET system in terms of comparability of
standards. Quality assurance is integral to these integration processes, which are now extending to
the relationships between national and regional TVET systems.

23
PART B: EAST ASIA SUMMIT VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND
TRAINING QUALITY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK

Background
In 2010 Australia and the ASEAN Secretariat cooperated to convene two workshops of an East Asia
Summit (EAS) Senior Education Officials Taskforce. A key outcome of this workshop was the
proposal for an East Asia Summit Technical and Vocational Education and Training Quality Assurance
Framework (EAS TVET QAF).
The EAS TVET QAF consists of a set of principles, guidelines and tools to assist EAS countries to
develop and assess the quality of their TVET systems and set out improvements accordingly.
The EAS TVET QAF forms a coherent package capable of guiding the design and implementation of
measures to strengthen quality assurance at the country level as well as providing a basis for
alignment between national TVET systems across the East Asia Summit region.
The 18 member countries of the East Asia Summit (EAS) include the ten Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia,
Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) as well as Australia, China, India, Japan,
Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.
The participating countries provided feedback to the draft concept paper via online discussion,
written responses and discussions emanating from the East Asia Summit Vocational Education and
Training Quality Assurance Framework (EAS TVET QAF) Workshop, which was held in Canberra,
Australia, 26 – 28 March 2012. The workshop was attended by high level delegates from 16 EAS
member countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines,
Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, India, China, Japan, New Zealand, Korea and the Russia) as well as
representatives from SEAMEO VOCTECH based in Brunei and the ASEAN Secretariat.

Scope
The EAS TVET QAF will function as a common reference quality assurance framework that will:

• Help EAS countries assess, develop and improve the quality of their TVET systems
• Guide the design and implementation of measures to strengthen quality assurance at the
country level
• Provide the basis for alignment between national TVET systems across the region
• Increase transparency of and consistency in TVET policy developments and thereby promote
mutual trust, worker and learner mobility as well as lifelong learning.
The EAS TVET QAF does not replace or attempt to define national quality assurance systems, instead
it aims to support and guide initiatives in relation to quality assurance at the national agency level.
The EAS TVET QAF is voluntary and non binding in nature. Agencies are defined as:

24
• accrediting agencies are those entities that manage program accreditation under national
legislation e.g. national qualifications agencies, official review boards or other nationally
approved bodies or agencies with the remit to establish achievement standards and/or
accredit qualifications; and
• registering agencies/ bodies are those entities that responsible for registering education and
training providers e.g. national qualifications agencies, official review boards or other
nationally approved bodies or agencies. Providers are a training organisation that plans and
delivers education/training and assessment services that leads to the award of qualifications
or components of qualifications.
For the evaluation of outcomes, it may be that one or both of these agencies are responsible or that
an independent agency is responsible.

Purpose
The key purposes of the EAS TVET QAF are to:

• Enable countries to promote and monitor the improvement of their quality assurance
systems;
• Facilitate cooperation and mutual understanding between member countries; and
• Support other initiatives within and across the region that enhance connectivity, integration,
education and labour mobility e.g. ASEAN Regional Qualifications Framework.

The EAS TVET QAF has a number of benefits including:


• Facilitating the sharing of good practice
• Providing for concrete means to support an evaluation and quality improvement culture at
all levels
• Supporting and promoting lifelong learning
• Contributing to evidence based policy and practice.

Framework

Underpinning approach
Quality assurance is a component of quality management and is ‘focused on providing confidence
that quality requirements will be fulfilled’23. In relation to training and educational services, ‘quality
assurance refers to planned and systematic processes that provide confidence in educational
services provided by training providers under the remit of relevant authorities or bodies. It is a set
of activities established by these relevant authorities or bodies to ensure that educational services
satisfy customer requirements in a systematic, reliable fashion’24.
The EAS TVET QAF, developed at the regional level, has the capacity to be applied at participating
country level by relevant agencies, and can inform national requirements for providers.

23
AS/NZS ISO 9000:2006: Quality management systems—Fundamentals and vocabulary, June 2006, p. 9.
24
Bateman et al 2009, p. 8.

25
The EAS TVET QAF is based on a systematic approach to quality assurance and includes agency
obligations and suggested provider obligations.
The EAS TVET QAF is also based on a continuous improvement cycle based on the notion of plan, do,
check and act. The framework encourages participating country, via relevant agencies, to foster and
support a quality assurance culture.
The EAS TVET QAF includes monitoring processes for agencies, including internal and external quality
audit/review; as well as standards and indicators to inform the quality assurance process which can
be applied at the agency and the provider level.
The evaluation and monitoring processes include evidence based and outcomes based principles
that can be supported by a range of data sources (both qualitative and quantitative).
The concept design of the EAS TVET QAF includes a number of components:
• Principles
• Quality Standards
• Quality indicators
• Governance arrangements.
The design is outlined in Figure 1.

Referencing

Agency

Provider

Figure 1: The Concept Design of the EAS TVET QAF: Component Relationships.

26
Principles
The EAS TVET QAF is underpinned by the following five key principles.
Transparency
Encourage mutual trust across the region. The quality assurance framework promotes
transparent standards and measures of quality.
Accountability
Encourage the evaluation and reporting of agency practices and performance against the
standards and measures.
Continuous Improvement Approach
Foster a quality improvement culture at all levels. The quality assurance framework
encourages the use of a balance of strategies that enhances the provision of training
services within and across the region to meet the changing and future needs of stakeholder
groups.
Flexibility and Responsiveness
Value and promote flexibility at all levels. Flexibility relates to the design, delivery and review
of the quality of TVET to meet the varying needs of countries and their stakeholders.
Comparability
Provides the benchmark for individual country quality assurance systems or framework. The
framework will enable countries to compare quality assurance systems and to enhance
confidence in the comparability of qualifications across the region. Comparability requires
continuity as a notion of consistency. Quality systems should not change rapidly and should
be consistent in their application to enable comparisons and maintain confidence.

Standards
Within the EAS TVET QAF standards are referred to as:
• quality standards which are the technical specifications for assuring quality at the agency
and provider level (including governance, registration and accreditation); or

• achievement standards which are statements approved and formalised by a recognised


agency or body, which defines the rules to follow in a given context or the results to be
achieved. These can take a variety of forms including competency, assessment, educational,
occupational or certification standards; or
• data standards which are the data specifications for data collection and reporting.
The EAS TVET QAF’s quality standards operate at two levels and include agency requirements and
suggested provider requirements.
Both the agency quality standards and the provider quality standards are described in terms of:
• governance;

27
• registration; and

• accreditation.
In terms of country agencies; the governance standards focus on effective management of an
agency’s resources and key functions in a manner that is open, transparent, accountable, equitable
and responsive to stakeholder needs. The registration and accreditation standards focus of the key
functions of an agency, which are:
• registration of providers; and
• accreditation of achievement standards.
In terms of providers, the suggested quality standards are supporting information that may apply in
relation to agencies developing or reviewing their quality assuring requirements for providers and
the provision of TVET. The suggested quality standards for providers are included in Appendix 1.
The quality standards take a systematic approach to quality assurance; they require planned
processes that aim to provide confidence in educational services, they include agency (and provider)
obligations, and have a focus on continuous improvement.
Therefore the EAS TVET QAF includes quality standards based on three key elements:
• establishment;
• accountability; and
• improvement.
The establishment element is ‘focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be
fulfilled’25.
The accountability element is focused on confirming that quality requirements are fulfilled.
The improvement element is focused on confirming performance is continuously improved.

25
AS/NZS ISO 9000:2006: Quality management systems—Fundamentals and vocabulary, June 2006, p. 9.

28
Agency quality standards
The Agency quality standards can be applied both within and across the participating EAS countries. In some instances countries can review their quality assurance
system to ensure that it addresses all key requirements as described in the quality standards; however for other countries it will inform the establishment of
agencies and/or responsible bodies that have oversight of quality assurance arrangements in TVET in their country.

Table 5: Agency quality standards:

Establishment (providing confidence that quality Accountability (confirming that quality requirements Improvement (confirming that performance is
requirements will be fulfilled) are fulfilled) continuously improved)

1. Governance

1.1 The Agency has explicit goals and objectives. 1.9 The Agency systematically monitors and reviews 1.13 The performance of the Agency is continuously
its performance to ensure that it continues to improved in response to research, data
1.2 The Agency’s responsibilities and/or
meet its goals, objectives and obligations collected and outcomes of external quality
competence, governance and probity 27
across all of its key functions ; and to inform audit.
arrangements are clearly determined and made
regulatory policy.
public. 1.14 Improvements to the TVET system are made in
1.10 The Agency monitors the research and response to research and data collected.
1.3 The Agency has a structure and systems in place
development strategy to confirm its
to ensure it is adequately resourced, managed
effectiveness.
effectively and maintains its independence in
decision-making. 1.11 The Agency is subject to cyclical independent
28
external quality audit .
1.4 The Agency has a system for managing
complaints; and appeals related to decisions 1.12 Agency performance is reported to
made by the Agency. stakeholders.
1.5 Strategies are in place to promote cooperation
and collaboration between agencies, across

27
Registration of providers and accreditation of achievement standards (i.e. certification standards).
28
Quality audit refers to a systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled
(AS/NZS ISO 19011:2003: Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing, p. 1). Some countries may refer to audit activity as an external independent review or evaluation
or assessment.

29
Establishment (providing confidence that quality Accountability (confirming that quality requirements Improvement (confirming that performance is
requirements will be fulfilled) are fulfilled) continuously improved)

borders.
1.6 A system is in place for the monitoring and
continuous improvement of all of the Agency’s
functions and to inform regulatory policy in light
of the outcomes.
1.7 The Agency has a defined research strategy for
ongoing development of the TVET system.
1.8 A national data standard is in place that ensures
the consistent and accurate capture of TVET
26
information .

2. Registration

2.1 An open, transparent and rigorous system is in 2.5 Providers are audited to ensure that they 2.8 The registration system is improved in response
place to register providers and approve program continue to meet the quality standards. to data collected on provider performance.
delivery against quality standards and/or 30
29 2.6 Data on provider performance and compliance
criteria .
is collected and analysed and used to inform
2.2 A public register of approved providers is registration policy.
maintained. 31
2.7 Data on provider performance and compliance
2.3 A process is in place for systematically is made public.
monitoring and reviewing provider registration
and performance to inform registration policy.
2.4 A transparent system is in place to ensure

26
Refer to Table 9 for an exemplar national data standard.
29
Suggested provider quality standards are included in Appendix 1.
30
Performance data relates to the four aspects in the Quality Indicators displayed in Table 7.
31
Performance data relates to the four aspects in the Quality Indicators displayed in Table 7.

30
Establishment (providing confidence that quality Accountability (confirming that quality requirements Improvement (confirming that performance is
requirements will be fulfilled) are fulfilled) continuously improved)

consistent registration decisions, sanctions,


conditions and rewards to providers.

3. Accreditation

3.1 An open, transparent and rigorous system is in 3.6 Reaccreditation of programs is achieved through 3.9 Accreditation systems are improved by acting on
place to accredit programs against agreed maintenance of standards. stakeholder feedback.
standards/criteria and to maintain consistency in
3. 7 Consistency of accreditation decisions is
decision-making.
maintained through moderation and
3.2 A public register of accredited programs is professional development.
maintained.
3.8 Accreditation data is publicly reported and
3.3 A process is in place for systematically informs educational and/or labour market policy.
monitoring and reviewing accreditation decisions
to inform accreditation policy.
3.4 Requirements for issuing qualifications to
students are clearly defined.
3.5 Requirements for recognising prior learning and
the provision of articulation pathways are in
place and made public.

31
Quality Indicators
The quality indicators in the EAS Quality Assurance Framework for TVET are intended to support the
evaluation and continuous improvement processes of agencies and providers. The indicators can be
used to evaluate the performance of a country’s TVET sector at both national and provider level.
The quality indicators are not intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive but instead, have been
designed to provide agencies and providers with a range of possible indicators for
selection/adaption to meet the varying needs, requirements and approaches to quality assurance.
The conceptual model that underpinned the design of the quality indicators has been displayed in
Figure 2. This conceptual model can be presented as a national data standard with five major
components: Aspects, Themes, Quality Indicators, Measures and Data Sources.

Measure 1.1.1.1
Data
Theme 1.1 Quality Indicator 1.1.1 Measure 1.1.1.2 Sources

Measure 1.1.1.n
Aspect

Measure 2.1.1.1

Data
Theme 2.1 Quality Indicator 2.1.1 Measure 2.1.1.2 Sources

Measure 2.1.1.n

Figure 2: The Conceptual Model for developing the quality indicators.

An analysis of existing quality indicators found elsewhere (e.g. New Zealand, Europe, Australia, USA,
Singapore) was initially undertaken to identify a set of common themes. Each theme was then
classified according to whether it related to the context, input, process or product aspects of the
model. The classification of themes according to these four aspects has been based on Stufflebeam’s
(2003) CIPP approach to evaluation. The themes and quality indicators that were associated with the
background factors typically in place prior to learning have been classified as Context related
themes. Those themes that referred to the procedures, resources and processes that can be
implemented up front to assure quality have been classified as Input related themes. The Process
type of themes refer to the measures of quality that occur during the learning experience whilst the
themes that referred to measures of quality in terms of outputs has been classified as Product
related. The relationship between the Themes and the Aspects of the model that underpinned the
design of the quality indicators, measures and data sources has been presented in Table 7.

32
Table 6: Relationship between Themes and Aspects.

Aspects

Context Input Process Output/Product

C.1 Learner I.1 Learning support P.1 Training and 0.1 Student Progress
Characteristics and resource Assessment and Attainment
C.2 Learner Pathways I.2 Program design 0.2 Comparability of
and curriculum standards
Themes C.3 Recognition of
development
prior learning in all 0.3 Employability and
contexts I.3 Quality of Teaching graduate
Staff destinations
C.4 Provider
characteristics 0.4 Stakeholder
satisfaction
C.5 Labour market
influences

For each theme, a set of indicators has been developed to enable participating countries to monitor
and compare the quality of their TVET provision.
The EAS TVET QAF Indicators according to theme are displayed in Table 7.

Table 7: The EAS Quality Indicators

Themes Indicators
C.1 Learner Characteristics C.1.1 Learner demographic profile

C.2 Provider characteristics C.2.1 National registration of providers

C.3 Learner Pathways C.3.1 Flexible and alternative pathways into TVET programs

C.4 Recognition of prior C.4.1 Strategies for recognising learning in all contexts including formal and informal
learning in all contexts educational contexts as well as learning in the workplace
C.5 Labour market influences C.1.5 Coherence of supply in relation to demand

I.1 Learning resources and I.1.1 Access to learning resources and support services
support
I.1.2 Provision of services to learners with disabilities.

I.2 Program design and 1.2.1 Effectiveness of program design, accreditation and review
curriculum development
I.3 Quality of Teaching Staff 1.3.1 Investment in training of teachers

1.3.2 Recruitment and retention of high quality teaching staff.

P.1 Training and Assessment P.1.1 Range and appropriateness of training and assessment strategies employed

O.1 Learner Progress and O.1.1 Retention and completion rates


Attainment
O.2 Comparability of O.2.1 Monitoring achievement standards across time.
achievement standards
O.3 Graduate destinations O.3.1 Monitoring pathways from TVET to work and/or continuing education

O.4 Stakeholder satisfaction O.4.1 Graduate and employer satisfaction with the program

33
To support the quality indicators, operational measures and examples of data sources were
identified and presented as an exemplar national data standard; refer to Appendix 2 (Table 9). Both
the operational measures and data sources have been included as supporting information to the
Quality Indicators to assist countries in developing or reviewing their data collection standard. Note
that the data sources have been classified as critical and desirable, depending on the level of
sophistication of the information systems in place. These data sources have been provided to assist
countries and providers to measure their performance against the proposed quality indicators.

Referencing process
A key question to be posed for policy makers of the EAS TVET QAF is how the framework will
enhance mutual understanding and collaboration. Critical to this question is how countries will
demonstrate alignment of their quality assurance systems or processes to the EAS TVET QAF.
Options for policy makers include:
• Self assessment against the EAS TVET QAF; or
• A referencing process that requires countries to formally and publically evaluate their
systems to the EAS TVET QAF; or
• Demonstration of quality assurance systems of alignment to the EAS TVET QAF and assessed
by a governing agency (refer to Governance section), and nomination onto a website of the
governing agency following an external review.
Ongoing alignment to the framework could be undertaken via any of the methods proposed above
or possibly though periodic monitoring, possibly over a three year period, with referencing or
assessment undertaken by an expert appraisal of the implementation.
The options available to the EAS TVET QAF depend on the governance arrangements and the EAS
countries’ approach to developing mutual understanding. Possible options include:

1. A regulatory approach that included formal checking to confirm if a country’s TVET quality
assurance arrangements meets the requirements, i.e. third party audit to certify agency
practice. This may also include membership such as INQAAHE, APQN.

2. A voluntary approach that included:

• A self referencing model (similar to the EQF model with international representation), or

• A self referencing model undertaken internally.

Feedback from participating countries via the online discussion, the written responses and workshop
discussions confirmed that the referencing process could be undertaken:

• As a stand alone quality assurance process; or preferably

• As a broader referencing process between National Qualifications Framework to a regional


qualification framework e.g. ASEAN regional qualifications framework requires referencing
to key principles as well the NQF – but does not at this stage clearly specify that the
referencing will be undertaken against agreed agency standards.

In addition, the EAS TVET QAF referencing process should include:

34
• Confirmation that the quality assurance system meets the EAS principles, and
• Confirmation that the accrediting and registering agencies meet agreed quality principles
and broad standards.
In the EAS TVET QAF the referencing process should include:

• A single report that is approved by major stakeholders and made public;

• International experts. It is proposed that each country’s referencing panel include at least
one international representative32, plus an additional observer from one of the other EAS
countries; and

• Use of a self assessment tool to inform and support the referencing process.

Governance
Once the EAS TVET QAF is agreed the main issue for the EAS countries is the maintenance, use,
evaluation and update of the quality assurance framework.
In addition, there will need to be capacity for guidance and support provided to participating
countries if the EAS TVET QAF is to be effective. There will need to be capacity for the maintenance
of the quality assurance framework, as well for monitoring its effectiveness and its implementation
across member countries. The management of the framework would also involve some mechanism
of assessing whether it is providing the quality assurance and capacity building function for member
economies, and whether it is fostering a community of practice of quality assurance within the
region. Operational considerations also include management of a website for the promotion of the
framework, for the sharing of information and for lodging referencing reports.
Consideration needs to be given to the resource implications involved in such functions, and the
need for an agency with a strong knowledge base and expert personnel. One option would be to set
up a standalone agency to carry out the functions. Another option may be to locate these functions
within a Secretariat that supports the EAS countries. Another option may be to have one EAS
country take the responsibility for the ongoing oversight of the EAS TVET QAF. Regardless, these
options have resource and capacity implications.
Wherever the monitoring and evaluation functions are finally located, the responsible agency needs
to have full acceptance of its remit amongst participating EAS countries, and, more importantly, a
willingness of those countries to cooperate and provide the necessary data and information to fully
evaluate the effective or success of the framework.
Findings from the written feedback and discussions at the Workshop in Canberra (2012) indicated
that participating countries preferred an independent agency or secretariat (not associated with any
one country) and it to be completely autonomous. SEAMEO or the ASEAN Secretariat were
suggested as potential organisations to manage the EAS TVET QAF beyond the project. It was also
suggested that the ongoing management of the EAS TVET QAF could involve the set up of a board or
managing committee made up of national representatives (from a national agency in each country)
and an independent expert.

32
It is suggested that the international expert could be external to the EAS member countries or internal to the EAS
countries but the international expert should not be a representative of the referencing country or the observer’s country.

35
APPENDIX 1: AGENCY QUALITY STANDARDS FOR PROVIDERS
The provider quality standards have been developed essentially as supporting information for Agencies to ensure that the requirements established for
recognising providers meet these agreed quality standards. However, countries establishing their quality assurance arrangements could base their provider
registration and accreditation of achievement standards (i.e. certification standards) requirements on these quality standards.

Table 8: Quality Standards for Providers (Exemplar)

Establishment (providing confidence that quality Accountability (confirming that quality Improvement (confirming that performance is
requirements will be fulfilled) requirements are fulfilled) continuously improved)

1. Governance

1.1 Provider goals and objectives are explicit and promote 1.6 The provider systematically monitors and 1.8 Key functions and services are improved in
continuous improvement. reviews its quality management system to response to self-assessment and continuous
ensure that it continues to meet the improvement outcomes.
1.2 Provider structure, governance and probity measures
Agency standards for providers and
meet Agency requirements and relevant legislation.
relevant legislation.
1.3 A quality management system is in place to implement
1.7 The provider reports outcomes of self-
the Agency standards for providers..
assessment to the Agency and other
1.4 The provider has a system for self-assessment and stakeholders.
continuous improvement of its performance and all its
key functions.
1.5 The quality management system includes strategies for
the timely and effective management of client
complaints and appeals.

2. Registration

2.1 The provider’s scope of operations is determined in 2.11 Premises, facilities, equipment, 2.16 Improvements are made across the scope of
response to stakeholder needs and priorities. administrative and student support the provider’s registration functions, in
services are systematically monitored response to data collected.
2.2 The provider demonstrates that training and

36
Establishment (providing confidence that quality Accountability (confirming that quality Improvement (confirming that performance is
requirements will be fulfilled) requirements are fulfilled) continuously improved)

assessment plans are in place to achieve the program and reviewed so that they continue to
outcomes, given the needs of the target group. satisfy defined standards and industry
and/or community requirements.
2.3 The provider provides clear, accurate and sufficient
information about its programs and services to enable 2.12 Training programs are systematically
applicants to make an informed decision regarding their monitored and reviewed to ensure that
participation in training and assessment. they continue to satisfy defined
standards and industry and/or
2.4 The provider’s processes for selecting students are
community requirements
open and transparent.
2.13 Assessment is validated and/or
2.5 The provider has fair, valid and effective systems for
moderated.
assessing learners against the program outcomes.
2.14 The skills and knowledge of education
2.6 The provider has the administrative and student
staff are systematically monitored and
support services to operate as a training provider.
developed so that they continue to
2.7 The provider has the premises, facilities, equipment, satisfy defined standards and industry
educational resources and teaching staff to deliver its and/or community requirements
programs.
2.15 The provider reports data collected
2.8 The provider provides flexible training and assessment against the national data standard to the
to meet the needs of learners and industry. Agency and its other stakeholders.
2.9 The provider has a system in place for accurately
reporting learner achievement.
2.10 Students’ prior learning is recognised.

37
Establishment (providing confidence that quality Accountability (confirming that quality Improvement (confirming that performance is
requirements will be fulfilled) requirements are fulfilled) continuously improved)

3. Accreditation

33 34
3.1 The provider has processes in place to accredit 3.3 Accreditation processes are monitored 3.4 The quality of program design is systematically
programs according to Agency requirements and/or so that the provider continues to meet evaluated and improved.
internal approval requirements. Agency requirements and/or internal
approval requirements.
3.2 A system is in place to ensure currency and relevance of
program design.

33
For self accrediting training organisations this will be an internal accreditation process, however for other training organisations this may be an internal approval process with external
accreditation through an agency.
34
See note above.

38
APPENDIX 2: EXEMPLAR NATIONAL DATA STANDARD - QUALITY INDICATORS, MEASURES AND
DATA SOURCES
Table 9: Exemplar national data standard - Quality indicators, measures and data sources

Themes Indicators Measures Data sources

Critical Desirable
C.1 Learner C.1.1 Learner demographic profile C.1.1.1 Type and range of participants in Enrolment data
Characteristics TVET, e.g.:
• Student background characteristics
• Gender
(e.g. gender, age, ethnicity, location,
• Age
length of unemployment, disability,
• Ethnicity first language (NCVER 2010, MOE NZ
• Education level 2008)
• First language
• Employment status
• Vulnerable and/or other social
groups (EQAVET 2010).
C.2 Provider C.2.1 National registration of C.2.1.1 Proportion of providers on the National register of providers Financial viability
characteristics providers national register according to
National register of qualifications Legal status and standing
provider type, qualifications,
location, registration status Provider type (e.g. not for profit,
C.2.1.2 Proportion of providers with self government, private, enterprise)
accrediting status. Geographic location(s)
C.2.1.3 Proportion of qualifications on the
Accreditation status (e.g. self accredited)
national register.
Registration approval and review dates
Qualification(s) nationally accredited (MOE
NZ 2008, NCVER 2010)
C.3 Learner C.3.1 Flexible and alternative C.3.1.1 Type and range of pathways Program and Pathways data Unique student identifier data (MOE NZ
Pathways pathways into TVET programs according to qualification and 2008 & AUS)
• Register of qualifications using
field of education national codes

39
Themes Indicators Measures Data sources

Critical Desirable
C.3.1.2 Proportion of learners moving from • Register of pathways per qualification
different pathways (e.g. school,
Enrolment Data
other TVET programs, further
education, higher education and • Student educational background (e.g.
employment status) into TVET Previous qualifications (NCVER 2010)
programs • Student employment background
C.1.2.3 Patterns of student enrolments. (NCVER 2010)

• Main activity of student just prior to


enrolment (MOE NZ 2008)
• Schemes used to promote and
improve access to TVET (EQAVET
2010)

• Enrolments in individual TVET


programs according to national codes
• Enrolments in TVET programs by
broad field of education (UNESCO
2011, NCVER 2010, MOE NZ 2008)

C.4 Recognition of C.4.1 Strategies for recognising C.4.1.1 Success rate of recognition of prior RPL and credit transfer policy statements • Register of qualifications with formal
prior learning in learning in all contexts learning/credit transfer and procedures in accordance with EAS credit transfer arrangements with
all contexts including formal and informal applications (NCVER 2010) QA principles other TVET providers
educational contexts as well as C.4.1.2 Proportion of program offerings Application outcomes for recognition of
learning in the workplace with formal credit transfer prior learning/credit transfer (NCVER
(European Commission 2002) arrangements with other TVET 2010)
providers.

C.5 Labour market C.1.5 Coherence of supply in relation C.1.5.1 Number and type of strategies to Strategies used to monitor labour market Labour market data
influences to demand (European monitor skill shortages, skill gaps influences
• National, regional and local employer
Commission 2002). and recruitment difficulties to Labour market data based surveys (e.g. perceptions of skill
inform TVET program offerings shortages)
(Shah & Burke 2003, EQAVET Unemployment rate nationally, regionally
and locally (Shah & Burke 2003) • Occupation vacancy or hard to fill
2010).
vacancy rates (nationally, regionally
and locally)
C.1.5.2 Match between program offerings TVET program data
and labour market demands.

40
Themes Indicators Measures Data sources

Critical Desirable
Qualification codes linked to National
Classification of Occupations
I.1 Learning I.1.1 Access to learning resources I.1.1.1 Level of investment in resources, Current expenditure of education per
resources and and support services and services and facilities that are student (UNESCO 2011)
support designed to improve access to Education expenditure per qualification
quality services that support level (UNESCO 2011)
student learning.
Funding per student allocated to provision
of learning resources (Gibbs 2011)
Investment in student support services
(Gibbs 2011)
Ratio of learning support staff to total staff
(Gibbs 2011)
Expenditure on facilities and equipment
Investment in information systems
I.1.2 Provision of services to I.1.2.1 Level of investment in resources, Type and number of disability services
learners with disabilities. services and facilities that cater available (MOE NZ 2008)
for the needs of those with Investment in disability services
disabilities.
Percentage of students with disabilities
accessing disability services
I.2 Program design 1.2.1 Effectiveness of program 1.2.1.1 Proportion of qualifications that National register of qualifications Formal program documentation:
and curriculum design, accreditation and meet accreditation requirements.
Formal program documentation • Industry/community involvement
development review 1.2.1.2 Level of stakeholder involvement in requirements including:
program design, accreditation • Accredited/recognised/endorsed by
and review. • Broad educational discipline industry/professional
classifications (e.g. ASCED) and body/association
1.2.1.3 Proportion of relevant qualifications
national occupation classification
with professional • Opportunities for combining study
body/association approval. • National qualification code, type and and workplace learning (Blom &
1.2.1.4 Proportion of qualifications with level Meyers, 2003)
formal workplace learning • Program Entrance requirements Research related activities to inform
component. teaching and learning such as:
1.2.1.5 Evidence of research informing • Explicit learning outcome statements
per unit/subject (Chalmers 2007) • Research and/or evaluation reports
curriculum development and
(Chalmers 2007)
review.

41
Themes Indicators Measures Data sources

Critical Desirable
• Clear benchmarks for assessment • Teaching staff who are engaged in
related research (Chalmers 2007)
• Program review processes and reports

• TVET provider identifier and


characteristics (NCVER 2010)
Formal workplace learning component
I.3 Quality of 1.3.1 Investment in training of 1.3.1.1 Proportion of funds invested in staff
Staff professional development
Teaching Staff teachers (EQAVET 2010) professional development/in-
expenditure in relation to total provider
service training (EQAVET 2010). expenditure
1.3.1.2 Proportion of teachers participating
in professional development/in- Records of staff participation
service training (EQAVET 2010).
1.3.2 Recruitment and retention of 1.3.2.1 Proportion of teaching staff who Qualifications and experience of teaching
high quality teaching staff. meet national standards for staff including:
training and assessment in TVET • Training and assessment
programs qualifications (Chalmers 2007)

• Vocational/technical qualifications

• Industry experience and currency

1.3.2.2 Range and type of mechanisms to Average remuneration of teachers Staff recruitment strategies (Gibbs 2011)
attract and retain high calibre (UNESCO 2011)
Type and number of awards/incentives for
teaching staff. Rate of staff turnover rewarding/recognising high quality
teaching staff (Chalmers 2007)
P.1 Training and P.1.1 Range and appropriateness of P.1.1.1 Level of learner satisfaction with Class contact time, independent study Assessment practices:
Assessment training and assessment learning, training and hours and total hours (Gibbs 2011)
• Availability of benchmarks for
strategies employed assessment. Class size (CHALMERS 2007) assessment (Gibbs 2011)
P.1.1.2 Level of validation and/or
moderation. Location and duration • Records of attendance at validation
and/or moderation activities (KPMG,
P.1.1.3 Alignment between specified Student Staff Ratios (Blom & Meyers 2003
2009))
learning outcomes and the and Gibbs 2011).
training and assessment • Assessment method weightings –
Student feedback questionnaires
strategies. traditional versus authentic based
(Chalmers 2007; Gibbs 2011, AQTF
P.1.1.4 Level of industry engagement in tasks (e.g. multiple choice test versus
2010):
workplace demonstration) (Gibbs
training and assessment.
• Range of teaching and learning

42
Themes Indicators Measures Data sources

Critical Desirable
P.1.1.5 Retention of students identified at strategies (XXXX, AQTF 2010) 2011)
risk of failing and/or withdrawing.
• Clarity and transparency of unit Community/industry
P.1.1.6 Level of employer satisfaction with requirements and expectations engagement/partnership in delivery
quality of on and off the job (AQTF 2010) (Chalmers 2007)
training and assessment; and
• Quality, quantity and timeliness of Teaching Staff Workload balance (Gibbs
with student workplace
assessment and reporting (XXXX) 2011)
readiness.
• Teacher expertise Schemes to identify students’ at risk of
failing and/or withdrawing
Employer satisfaction questionnaire (for
formal workplace learning): Students identified at risk of failing and/or
withdrawing
• Training quality and work readiness
(AQTF 2010)

O.1 Learner Progress O.1.1 Retention and completion O.1.1.1 Retention and completion rates per Student retention data (Chalmers 2007, Student withdrawal reasons (MOE NZ
and Attainment rates qualification type and learner Gibbs 2011) 2008, NCVER 2010)
demographics (EQAVET 2010). Participation data in VET programs
O.1.1.2 Completion rate of learners (EQAVET 2010)
previously identified to be at risk
Completion/graduation data in TVET
of failing/withdrawing.
programs (EQAVET 2010)
O.1.1.3 Retention and completion rates
across time. Student withdrawal data (MOE NZ 2008,
NCVER 2010)
O.2 Comparability of O.2.1 Monitoring completion O.2.1.1 Evidence that achievement Schemes used to monitor achievement Pre and post psychometric measures of
achievement achievement standards across standards are maintained or standards internally and externally generic competencies/outcomes (e.g.
standards time. improved across qualifications. problem solving, literacy, numeracy) (Gibbs
Longitudinal student achievement data per 2011)
O.2.1.2 Evidence that achievement course
standards are maintained or
Records of internal and external validation
improved across time.
and/or moderation activities
O.3 Graduate O.3.1 Monitoring pathways from O.3.1.1 Destination of graduates at Graduate Employment data (Chalmers
destinations TVET to work and/or designated points in time 2007, Gibbs 2011)
continuing education (Blom & (EQAVET 2010). Placement data in further education
Meyers, 2003) • Proportion of graduates programs (EQAVET 2010)
working in relevant
Graduates’ occupation classification and
occupations (EQAVET
employment field post training (EQAVET
2010).

43
Themes Indicators Measures Data sources

Critical Desirable
• Proportion of graduates 2010)
in continuing education
• Employment status
O.4 Stakeholder O.4.1 Graduate and employer O.4.1.1 Proportion of graduates, 1 to 2
Recent Graduate Student Satisfaction
satisfaction satisfaction with the program years after completion, who were
Surveys (Chalmers 2007; Gibbs 2011, AQTF
(Chalmers 2007) satisfied with their training and 2010)
learning experience.
O.4.1.2 Proportion of destination employers • Learner Engagement with the course
and provider (AQTF 2010)
of a given sector who are
satisfied with graduate • Learner Perceptions and Attitudes
preparedness (EQAVET 2010). toward:
- Teaching and learning in
general (XXXX35, AQTF 2010) Post Graduate Student Survey

- Clarity and transparency of • Learners perception of employment


course requirements and preparedness and utilisation of skills
expectations (AQTF 2010) and knowledge (AQTF 2010)

- Lifelong learning (Blom &


Meyers, 2003)
- Teaching and learning support
services (AQTF 2010)
- Quality and timeliness of
assessment and reporting in
general (XXXX)
- Provider/organisation culture
(XXXX)
- Physical environment and
resources (XXXX, AQTF 2010)
- Employment preparedness

35
XXXX refers to a confidential report yet to be released.

44
ACRONYMS
AANZFTA – ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area
AFAS - ASEAN Framework on Services
APEC – Asia Pacific Economic Community
APQN - Asian Pacific Quality Network
ASEAN - Association of South East Asian Nations
EAS – East Asia Summit
INQAAHE - International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education
MRAs -Mutual Recognition Arrangements
NQF – National Qualifications Framework
QAF – Quality Assurance Framework
RQF - Regional Qualifications Framework
SEAMEO - Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization
TVET – Technical and Vocational Education and Training

45
GLOSSARY 36

Accreditation The process of assessment and official approval of achievement standards


(i.e. certification standards), including qualification or unit(s) of a
qualification, usually for a particular period of time, as being able to meet
particular requirements or certification standards defined by an accrediting
agency that functions within a quality assurance system.

Accredited Qualifications which have been accredited or granted approval by an


qualifications accrediting agency or organization as having met specific requirements or
certification standards.

Accrediting agency Accrediting agencies are those entities that manage program accreditation
under national legislation e.g. national qualifications agencies, official review
boards or other nationally approved bodies or agencies with the remit to
establish achievement standards and/or accredit qualifications. All
accrediting agencies are subject to ongoing monitoring and periodic review
of their performance against quality standards.

Achievement Statements approved and formalised by a recognised agency or body, which


standards (in defines the rules to follow in a given context or the results to be achieved.
education and
Achievement standards can take a variety of forms. A distinction can be
training)
made between competency, educational, occupational or certification
standards:
• competency standard refers to the knowledge, skills and/or
competencies linked to practising a job;
• assessment standard refers to statements of learning outcomes or levels
of achievement to be assessed and methodology used
• educational standard refers to statements of learning objectives,
content of curricula, entry requirements and resources required to meet
learning objectives
• occupational standard refers to statements of activities and tasks
related to a specific job and to its practise;
• certification standard refers to statements of rules applicable to
obtaining a qualification (e.g. certificate or diploma) as well as the rights
conferred.37

36
A range of these definitions have been sourced from the Burke et al (2009) or Pacific Qualifications Framework (2011)
unless otherwise noted.
37
Adapted from CEDEFOP 2011, p. 109.

46
Audit Quality audit refers to a systematic, independent and documented process
for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the
extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled38. Some countries may refer to
audit activity as an external independent review or evaluation or
assessment.
For other countries the term ‘evaluation’ reflects a focus on the value of
specified outcomes. Refer to Evaluation (of education and training) in this
Glossary.

Awarding body Awarding bodies issue qualifications. This could include government agency
such as the Ministry of Training or a University.

Data standard Data standards are the data specifications for data collection and reporting

Comparability Comparability is the comparison of one qualification with another, based,


most often, on a common format or instrument - such as comparability
tables – that enables the ‘face value’ of a qualification to be established. The
act of comparing enables judgments to be made about the equivalence
(sameness) of qualifications39

Continuous A planned and ongoing process that enables a provider systematically


improvement review and improve its policies, procedures, products and services in order
to generate better outcomes for clients and to meet changing needs. It
allows a provider to constantly review its performance against relevant
quality standards and to plan ongoing improvements to its performance.
Continuous improvement involves collecting, analysing and acting on
relevant information obtained from clients and other interested parties,
including the provider’s staff. It also includes monitoring and reviewing the
improvement actions taken.

Credit framework Credit framework typically is a set of taxonomy based descriptors of the
volume of learning and the level of learning. It is designed to enable and
support the development of courses and qualifications, compare and align
qualifications and therefore enable stronger links between qualifications,
including credit based links.

Credit transfer Credit transfer assesses the initial course or subject that an individual is
using to claim access to, or the award of credit in, a destination course. The
assessment determines the extent to which the client’s initial course or
subject is equivalent to the required learning outcomes, competency
outcomes, or standards in a qualification (AQTF 2010).

38
AS/NZS ISO 19011:2003: Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing, p. 1.
39
James Keevy, Borhene Chakroun & Arjen Deij (2010), p. 91 & 92.

47
Descriptors Descriptors describe the qualification types or of units within qualifications.

Design rules or Design rules or formula describe the size of the qualification and/or what it
formula can be made up of. For example 50 per cent of learning must be at level 3.

Evaluation (of Evaluation refers to the judgment on the value of an intervention, and
education and training program or policy with reference to criteria and explicit standards
training) (such as its relevance or efficiency).
Evaluation encompasses two broad aspects:
• Evaluation as a systematic investigation to determine the worth or merit
of a program, measure or policy by means of careful appraisal and study,
based on relevant social research methods and criteria, standards and
indicators (summative evaluation or impact evaluation)
• Evaluation as a developmental process that illuminates or enlightens
specific policies, processes and practice for its stakeholders, contributes
to collective learning, reduces uncertainty in decision-making and helps
to improve the design and implementation of the program and/or of
future related initiatives (formative or process evaluation)40.

Learning outcome (or Learning outcomes are clear statements of what a learner can be expected
outcomes-based to know, understand and/or do as a result of a learning experience. Learning
learning) outcomes provide a clear statement of achievement.

Levels A stage in a hierarchical system used for grouping qualifications that are
deemed to be broadly equivalent. The level typically refers to the complexity
of learning outcomes in any qualification.

Moderation of Moderation is the process of bringing assessment judgements and standards


assessment into alignment. It is a process that ensures the same standards are applied
to all assessment results within the same unit. It is an active process in the
sense that adjustments to assessor judgements are made to overcome
differences in the difficulty of the tool and/or the severity of judgements41.

Naming rules Naming rules or conventions are requirements for the allocation of
qualification type titles.

40
CEDEFOP (2011), p. 45 & 46.
41
Adapted from Gillis and Bateman (2009).

48
National Qualification National qualifications framework42 (NQF) is an instrument for the
Framework development and classification of qualifications according to a set of criteria
or criteria for levels of learning achieved. This set of criteria may be implicit
in the qualifications descriptors themselves or made explicit in the form of a
set of level descriptors. The scope of frameworks may be comprehensive of
all learning achievement and pathways or may be confined to a particular
sector, for example initial education, adult education and training or an
occupational area. Some frameworks may have more design elements and a
tighter structure than others; some may have a legal basis whereas others
represent a consensus of views of social partners.

Program A structured learning program may include a complete qualification, or a


cluster of units of a qualification or a unit of a qualification.

Program capability The capability of an organisation to deliver an education or training program


that leads to quality outcomes and meets the required standards.

Provider A training organisation that plans and delivers education/training and


assessment services that leads to the award of qualifications or components
of qualifications.

Provider accredited Some providers are able to self accredit (sometimes through legislation)
qualifications qualifications from the national qualifications framework.

Qualification Qualification43 is a formal certificate issued by an official organisation, in


recognition that an individual has been assessed as achieving learning
outcomes or competencies to the standard specified for the qualification
title, usually a type of certificate, diploma or degree. Learning and
assessment for a qualification can take place through workplace experience
and/or a program of study. A qualification confers official recognition of
value in the labour market and in further education and training.

Qualification system Qualifications system44 includes all aspects of a country's activity that result
in the recognition of learning. These systems include the means of
developing and operationalising national or regional policy on qualifications,
institutional arrangements, quality assurance processes, assessment and
awarding processes, skills recognition and other mechanisms that link
education and training to the labour market and civil society. Qualifications
systems may be more or less integrated and coherent. One feature of a
qualifications system may be an explicit framework of qualifications.

Quality assurance Quality assurance is a component of quality management and is ‘focused on


providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled’ (AS/NZS ISO
9000:2006: Quality management systems—Fundamentals and vocabulary, p.

42
Coles, M and Werquin, P (2006), p. 22.
43
Coles, M and Werquin, P (2006), p. 21 & 22.
44
Coles, M and Werquin, P (2006), p. 22.

49
9).
In relation to education and training services, quality assurance refers to
planned and systematic processes that provide confidence in the design,
delivery and award of qualifications within an education and training
system. Quality assurance ensures stakeholders interests and investment in
any accredited program are protected.

Quality audit A systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit
evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the
audit criteria are fulfilled (AS/NZS ISO 19011:2003: Guidelines for quality
and/or environmental management systems auditing, p. 1).

Quality management A quality management system aims ‘to direct and control an organisation
system with regard to quality’ (AS/NZS ISO 9000:2006: Quality management
systems—Fundamentals and vocabulary, p. 8).
An organisation should establish, document, implement and maintain a
quality management system and continually improve its effectiveness. The
quality management system documentation could include:
• Documented statements of a quality policy and quality objectives
• Quality manual
• Documented procedures and records appropriate to key functions
• Documents, including records, determined by the organisation to be
necessary to ensure the effective planning, operation and control of its
processes (adapted from AS/NZS ISO 9001: 2008, Quality management
systems— Requirements, p. 2).

Quality standard Technical specifications which are measurable and have been drawn up by
consensus and approved by an organisation recognised at regional, national
or international levels.45 Within the EAS TVET QAF these technical
specifications are the agency and provider quality assurance standards
(including governance, registration and accreditation).

Recognition of prior Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is an assessment process that assesses an
learning (RPL) individual’s non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to
which that individual has achieved the required learning outcomes,
competency outcomes, or standards for entry to, and/or partial or total
completion of, a qualification (AQTF 2010).

Recognition Tool A Recognition Tool is a means of improving the information conveyed in a


certificate or diploma. One form of tool is the Diploma Supplement. E.g.
from the University of Nottingham: ‘This Diploma Supplement follows the
model developed by the European Commission, Council of Europe and

45
CEDEFOP (2011), p. 96.

50
UNESCO/CEPES. The purpose of the Supplement is to provide sufficient
independent data to improve the international “transparency” and fair
academic and professional recognition of qualifications (diplomas, degrees,
certificates, etc.)’.

Referencing Referencing is a process that results in the establishment of a relationship


between the national quality assurance framework and that of a regional
quality assurance framework. Referencing in the education arena is most
commonly referred to in relation to national qualification frameworks
(NQFs) and regional qualifications framework, such as the European
Qualifications Framework; however similar processes can be utilised for
ensuring comparability of quality assurance systems.

Regional framework A means of enabling one framework of qualifications to relate to others and
subsequently for one qualification to relate to others that are normally
located in another framework46.

Registration of Registration processes include formal acknowledgement by a registering


providers body that a provider meets relevant standards. Under NQFs it is usual for a
provider to be registered in order to deliver and assess accredited programs
and issue awards.
Some agencies differentiate between the two processes, e.g.:
• Formal acknowledgement that the provider meets key generic standards
• Formal acknowledgement that the provider meets specific standards
related to the provision of teaching, learning and assessment of a
specific program.
For the purpose of the EAS Quality Assurance Framework for TVET project,
registration of providers is the term used for both processes.

Registering agency Registering agencies/ bodies are those entities that responsible for
registering education and training providers e.g. national qualifications
agencies, official review boards or other nationally approved bodies or
agencies.

Sectors Sectors refers to the main subgroups within education e.g. schools, TVET
and higher education (universities).

Self-assessment Any process or methodology carried out by a TVET provider or agency under
its own responsibility, to evaluate its performance or position in relation to
relevant quality standards (internal and/or external). This may also be
referred to as self-evaluation or self-review47

Standards Standards in the EAS TVET QAF have been classified as two major types:

46
Commission of European Communities (2005), p 13
47
Adapted from CEDEFOP 2011, p. 100.

51
• Quality standards – refer to
• Achievement standards

Taxonomies Taxonomies (or classification systems) are used to list the type of learning
outcomes achieved at each level within an NQF. Examples are ‘complexity of
knowledge’, ‘degree of application’ and ‘level of autonomy.’

Transparency ‘Transparency is the degree to which the value of qualifications can be


identified and compared in education, training, the workplace and other
contexts. It is the degree of explicitness about the meaning of a qualification
(outcomes, content, levels, standards, awards). It implies the exchange of
information about qualifications in an accessible way within and outside the
country of award. When transparency is achieved, it is possible to compare
the value and content of qualifications at national and international level.’48

Unit The smallest component of a qualification; also known as subjects, modules,


courses, papers, competencies, components. This is the smallest part of a
qualification or program that can be separately assessed and certified.

Validation Validation is a quality review process. It involves checking that the


assessment tool produced valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic
evidence to enable reasonable judgements to be made as to whether the
requirements of the relevant aspects of the educational/competency
standards had been met. It includes reviewing and making
recommendations for future improvements to the assessment tool, process
and/or outcomes49.

Volume of learning The volume of learning can be measured in terms of notional learning time
measure for the complete qualification or for a unit. Notional learning time is the
time it takes an average learner to achieve the learning outcomes of a unit
of a qualification or the complete qualification. Notional learning time
includes time in direct contact (as in lectures and tutorials); practical and
field work; time in independent study; and time spent doing assessments.
For example 1 credit = 10 hours learning time, or 1 = 40 hours.

48
James Keevy, Borhene Chakroun & Arjen Deij 2010, p. 91.
49
Adapted from Gillis and Bateman 2009.

52
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